Rebel Rising Podcast

What to do if your presentation is going down in flames

Your presentation is going down in flames!

Is your presentation going down in flames?

Your audience looks lost or bored or worse BOTH. Heck, this presentation is going so poorly even you are bored by you.

I've totally been in this situation. Do not despair! It is not a total loss.  You can still save your presentation.

You need to FIX your speech. Here are 3 steps (easy mnemonic device included) to help you adapt to your audience on the fly and ultimately FIX your relationship with the audience.

Face the music 

First, do a perception check. Have you really lost your audience or is there just one or two people giving you stink eye? If it is just one or two, ignore those jerks. Focus on the members of the audience who are engaged and listening. However, if it is a large portion of the audience looks lost, it’s time to face the music. Acknowledge that you’ve lost them. “Looking at you, I’m seeing some confused expressions.”

That will get their attention because you are paying attention to them!


After facing the music, ask the audience if they have any questions or at what point did you lose them. My experience has been some brave soul will pipe up with what they didn’t understand or where you lost them. Someone will have a question because the audience wants you to succeed and really they want to make your presentation less painful for them, The challenge for the speaker then is addressing this question or confusion which is why…


…I like to be prepared lots of options and examples! When I was professor or now when I do more technical presentation, I come prepared with a host of options and examples. If my audience is not responding to one explanation, I am ready with another. If an example is not hitting its mark, I’ve got handy alternative. Being prepared with multiple explanations and examples, looks like I am spontaneously adapting on the fly, but I am not! I’m just ready (or nerdy or both).

Don't let your relationship with your audience crash and burn. You can fix it, recover and be a rocking presentation success!

What other suggestions do you have for recovering from presentation failure? I would love to hear your suggestions and reactions in the comments section below or on my Facebook page.

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